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Kerley dominates, Jefferson stuns 100m US finals

Kerley dominates, Jefferson stuns 100m US finals

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Rome - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - June 9, 2022 Fred Kerley of the U.S. celebrates after winning the men's 100m REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

EUGENE, Ore. : Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley won the men's 100 metres at the U.S. championships in a dominant 9.77 seconds on Friday, with Melissa Jefferson stunning the women's field in a scorching, wind-aided 10.69.

Kerley exploded down the stretch at Eugene, Oregon's Hayward Field to punch his ticket to the world championships, with Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell finishing second and third, respectively, in 9.85 and 9.88.

"It's all about pacing and training and stuff and continuing to do what I've got to do," said Kerley, who earlier in the day produced a world-leading 9.76 in the semi-final race.

Kerley, who is now tied with Coleman and Bromell as the sixth-fastest performer of all time, said he was targetting eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt's record in the distance.

"You don't go for the second place, you're trying to go for the top dog," he said.

It was sweet redemption for Bracy, who fell short of making the Tokyo team a year ago at the same track.

"To go through the rounds and make the team, my first world championship team ever, is a blessing," he said.

World champion Christian Coleman, who returned to action in January after serving an 18-month suspension for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules, did not run in the final and has a wildcard entry for the worlds.

Jefferson finished three hundredths of a second ahead of favourite Aleia Hobbs in the women's race, a remarkable rebound from her disappointing eighth-place finish at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships, and credited her religious faith with guiding her turnaround.

"Two weeks I wasn't really happy with the results (at NCAAs)," said Jefferson, the indoor 60 metres collegiate champion. "I had to step back and realize who's really in control. He's in control of what I may endure in this life."

Twanisha Terry finished third in 10.74.

The top three finishers in Eugene, who meet certain qualifying standards, and reigning global title-holders advance to the first world championships to be held in the United States at the same track, starting on July 15.

World record-holder and Tokyo gold medallist Sydney McLaughlin clobbered her 400 metres hurdles semi-final heat in 52.90, more than two seconds ahead of her competitors.

"I've just been praying that God would really show me how to run free and have fun and I really can just only credit it to him," she said.

Tokyo Olympian Anna Cockrell and Rio bronze medallist Ashley Spencer also advanced, while reigning world champion Dalilah Muhammad was absent due to injury.

Competing in her final national championships, Allyson Felix also got through to Saturday's final.

"It's been an interesting year but so good to be here one last time," said the 36-year-old, America's most decorated Olympic track and field athlete.

Tokyo relay gold medallist Michael Norman was the fastest on the men's side in 44.28.

World record-holder and Tokyo silver medallist Kendra Harrison had the second-fastest performance in the women's 100 metres hurdles (12.47) semi-finals, behind 25-year-old Alaysha Johnson (12.41). Defending champion Nia Ali also advanced.

Olympic and world silver medallist Rai Benjamin was the fastest across the men's 400 metres hurdles preliminary heats in 48.41.

Emma Coburn, who finished second on the podium at the 2019 worlds, and Tokyo silver medallist Courtney Frerichs advanced in the 3,000 metres steeplechase.

In the field events, Tokyo gold medallist Valarie Allman handily won the discus with a 66.92-metre throw while twice world silver medallist Sandi Morris won the women's pole vault with a world-leading 4.82 metres.

World bronze medallist Vashti Cunningham won the women's high jump with 1.93 metres.

World record-holder Ryan Crouser won the men's shotput with a world-leading 23.12 defending world champion Joe Kovacs finishing second.

Rayvon Grey won the men's long jump with a personal-best 8.19 metres.

(The story refiles to fix grammar in second para.)

Source: Reuters

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